West Yorkshire

Metropolitan county

If you are more familiar with metropolitan counties in other parts of the country, then you may need to adjust your sense of scale when you arrive in the UK's biggest.

West Yorkshire covers an area 29% larger than Greater London and is more than double the area of the West Midlands.

Here are some facts and figures about West Yorkshire:

• West Yorkshire is made up of a ring of five metropolitan districts -  Bradford,  Calderdale,  Kirklees,  Leeds and  Wakefield.

On average, West and South Yorkshire metropolitan districts are 3 times larger than those elsewhere• West Yorkshire is the largest metropolitan county in the UK. It is around 40 miles (64km) wide and 30 miles (49km) north to south.

• Each metropolitan district of West Yorkshire is an average three times larger than those outside Yorkshire and more than eight times larger than London boroughs.

• West Yorkshire has a 59% bigger area than Greater Manchester which is divided into 10 metropolitan district authorities.

• West Yorkshire is more than double the area of West Midlands which is divided into 7 metropolitan district authorities.

Meltham - a small town in Kirklees districtHebden Bridge - a town in Calderdale districtBingley - a town in Bradford districtOssett - a town in Wakefield districtMorley - one of the towns around Leeds• West Yorkshire has three cities and Yorkshire’s largest town, dozens of other towns and hundreds of villages.

• The population of West Yorkshire is more than 2.3 million.

• Just under 0.8 million live in the largest city and its suburbs and surrounding towns and villages in the Leeds metropolitan district.

• Leeds is not the central point of West Yorkshire. This falls within the Kirklees metropolitan district. The county fire authority chose the village of Birkenshaw for its centrally-located HQ, while Cleckheaton is the most central town.

• More than 0.5 million live in the metropolitan district of West Yorkshire’s second largest city, Bradford, a population close to that of the biggest city of South Yorkshire, Sheffield.

Peak District National Park in Kirklees district• West Yorkshire includes Pennine moorland and valleys and part of the Peak District National Park.

• The West Yorkshire metropolitan county was formed in 1974 from around 28% of the historic West Riding of Yorkshire. It included the central portion of the previous administrative county, an area where towns had seen expansion mainly associated with woollen textile production, engineering and connected industries.

• In 1974, the five metropolitan districts, supported by a metropolitan county authority, took over the administration of a total of six county boroughs, 10 municipal boroughs, 29 urban districts and 8 rural districts. Some of those had been enlarged through earlier amalgamations.

County Hall, Wakefield• The county town of West Yorkshire, like that of the West Riding, is the city of Wakefield.

• The metropolitan county authority was abolished in 1986 but since 2014 the five metropolitan districts have come together to organise some services through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

• When formed in 1974, two West Yorkshire metropolitan districts, Halifax-based Calderdale and Huddersfield-based Kirklees, decided upon names that would be more inclusive of all their other towns.

• Kirklees metropolitan district has the largest population in the UK of any borough not containing a city.

Metro's 'M' appears at stations and bus stops• The West Yorkshire Combined Authority public transport brand Metro offers travel tickets and passes allowing travel across the multiple operators within the boundaries of West Yorkshire.

• The highest point in West Yorkshire is Black Hill in the Kirklees district at 582 metres (1,909ft). It is on the boundary with Derbyshire (Cheshire before 1974).

River Aire at Castleford in Wakefield district• West Yorkshire's biggest rivers sometimes lead to flooding as they carry water from the Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales towards the Humber estuary and North Sea. The biggest rivers are the River Aire, flowing through the Bradford and Leeds district and at the northern edge of the Wakefield district; the River Calder, flowing through the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield districts; and River Wharfe flowing at the northern edge of Bradford and Leeds districts.

Next stop Walsden. A commuter train on a journey of more than an hour from Leeds• Trains provide the quickest public transport across the considerable commuter distances in West Yorkshire, but have much lower frequencies and route options than the network in Greater London. Although only slightly larger distances than in Greater London, a train journey from West Yorkshire’s westernmost railway station Walsden to its easternmost railway station Knottingley takes 2 hours 7 minutes. From the northernmost station Ben Rhydding to southernmost Denby Dale takes at fastest 1 hour 29 minutes, but more usually 1 hour 53 minutes.

Leeds Bradford Airport at Yeadon• The fastest rail journey between West Yorkshire and London is 1 hour 46 minutes from Wakefield Westgate to Kings Cross, although the journey is more usually just over 2 hours.

• West Yorkshire has an airport. Leeds Bradford Airport is situated at Yeadon. In light traffic, Leeds or Bradford can be reached within 45 minutes by bus.

Places in West Yorkshire

Find cities, towns and villages in the metropolitan districts of West Yorkshire:

BRADFORD Metropolitan district
CALDERDALE Metropolitan district
KIRKLEES Metropolitan district
LEEDS Metropolitan district
WAKEFIELD Metropolitan district

Links to useful West Yorkshire websites

West Yorkshire Combined Authority
Covers some combined services of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire -  Bradford,  Calderdale,  Leeds,  Kirklees and  Wakefield — which were at one time provided by a West Yorkshire metropolitan county council, with the addition of the non-contiguous unitary authority area of the City of  York council as well as the unelected Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership. Since 2021 it has operated with an elected mayor as chairman and decision-maker for some responsibilities. These include transport, housing and planning and finance powers. The responsibilities also include those of Police and Crime Commissioner, a role substantially delegated to an appointee deputy mayor.

Elected mayor: Tracy Brabin Labour & Cooperative
 West Yorkshire Combined Authority website.

Travel network of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Metro provides help and information on journey planning, tickets and passes and support for sustainable travel.
 Metro website.

Emergency services

West Yorkshire Police  West Yorkshire Police website.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service  West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service website.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust  Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust website.

West Yorkshire Fire Authority
The fire authority is made up of elected members of each of the five metropolitan district councils of West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Leeds, Kirklees and Wakefield.
 West Yorkshire Fire Authority web pages.

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